Master of Engineering Leadership in Urban Systems (MEL)

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About the Program

Lead change in a high-growth industry

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Urban Systems is a professional degree for systems thinkers who want to address complex infrastructure challenges. This interdisciplinary program combines graduate-level engineering and urban planning courses with UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School courses – giving you the skills and confidence to build your career and drive innovation in urban planning.

Public and private sector organizations need urban planners and engineers who have the technical decision-making knowledge to efficiently design and manage urban infrastructure and services. They need people with a multidisciplinary perspective who understand the complex interplay of social, environmental and financial factors of the built environment. They’re also looking for people who have the business perspective and interpersonal skills to lead teams and guide change.

Choose engineering and business

The MEL in Urban Systems program offers a unique combination of technical and business classes – giving you the strategic skills to play a leading role in forward-thinking organizations. Engineering and urban planning courses span the entire industry value chain, from the social context of infrastructure and planning through to engineering and design, project delivery and asset management. Business courses offered by the top-ranked UBC Sauder School of Business give you a solid foundation in business strategy and innovation, operations and logistics, project management, and organizational leadership.

Study full time or part time

You can take the program either full time (12 months) or part time (24 months). With the 12-month full-time option, you’ll complete your studies in one year, expanding your knowledge base and skill set in a concentrated time frame.

The 24-month part-time option is for those who want to continue working while building their business and technical knowledge. By balancing work and study, you’ll be able to apply your new skills immediately to your workplace, and bring technical and leadership challenges from work into classroom discussion. This part-time version of the MEL in Urban Systems is also an opportunity to build your professional network over two years. Students pursuing this option can expect to be on campus for two weekdays each week (approximately 10 hours total).

Gain a competitive edge

Over the 12-month/24-months program you will:

  • gain a comprehensive understanding of best practices in designing and managing interdependent urban infrastructure systems and services to contribute to more resilient and sustainable cities
  • broaden your sector-specific knowledge through a project-based curriculum that covers all stages of community and infrastructure system life cycles
  • study under renowned faculty and industry experts
  • expand your professional network while collaborating with other MEL students
  • gain the fundamental business, project management and interpersonal skills to advance your career and confidently take on positions of increased responsibility

MEL's graduates excel

With their advanced technical skills, foundational business knowledge and strengthened interpersonal and leadership skills, MEL graduates are moving into positions of increased responsibility and leading change within their fields.

Read about their success and the value that a Master of Engineering Leadership can bring to your own career.

Read More

MEL's latest student highlight

Man in blazer and glasses

Mehmud Iqbal, Clean Energy Engineering

“There are many ways that oil and gas operations can be improved to reduce emissions and be more energy efficient,” he says. “However, there isn’t a lot of motivation for many of these operators to do so unless strict regulations are in effect – and regulations change from country to country.”

Learn more about this innovative professional master’s degree from our students and professors!



Applications open: January 1

To study in January 2024, there are three application rounds:

Round 1:March 30, 2023You'll get your admission decision on May 4, 2023
Round 2:June 30, 2023You'll get your admission decision on August 4, 2023
Round 3:August 30, 2023Yet your admission decision on October 4, 2023
(Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada/US only)


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